Attorney Matthews Bark of Orlando – Illinois Issues a Special License Plate For Legal Window Tint

Source     : Jalopnik
By             : Doug DeMuro
Category : Attorney Matthews Bark of Orlando, Matthews Bark Criminal Defense

Illinois Issues a Special License Plate For Legal Window Tint
Illinois Issues a Special License Plate For Legal Window Tint

I’m walking down the street the other day somewhere in California, and I stumble across an Audi A4 with an Illinois license plate that has black writing on it. Now, I can’t be sure of much in this fast-changing planet we call home, but I can be sure of this: Illinois license plates have red writing, typically stamped directly on top of Abraham Lincoln’s nose. The license plate also has an unusual format that ends with the letters “WT.” What does WT stand for? Work Truck? Wiggle Taxonomy? Waving Tutu? Wild Turkey? This situation irked me enough that I decided to take a picture of it. Then I did what any normal, rational person would do when they see something that makes them curious: I forgot about it for like six months. So last month I’m going through my pictures, and I notice the Wiggle Taxonomy license plate among them. And at that moment, I committed to solving the mystery once and for all by doing what any serious, professional, highly qualified journalist would do: I began poring over Illinois state statutes, stopping only for lunch, dinner, and the occasional break for rocking out to Jimmy Eat World songs with my stuffed capybara.

No, I’m just kidding. What I actually did was, I Googled it. I do have a stuffed capybara, though. Here’s what I learned: that mysterious “WT” code on the license plate I saw? It does not stand for Wild Turkey, or Whirling Taliban, or Walking Turtles. It stands for Window Tint. This is a special license plate for window tint.
What exactly is a special license plate for window tint? I will let the Illinois state statute do the talking, as it very clearly states in Section 12, Row 6, Seats 3 and 4, on the third base side:

A person owning and operating a motor vehicle, who is determined by a physician licensed to practice medicine and is afflicted with or suffers from medical disease such as systemic or discoid lupus erythematosus, disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis or albinism, which would require that person to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun is entitled to operate said vehicle with tinted windows. This exception also applies to a vehicle used in transporting a person when the person resides at the same address as the registered owner and the person is afflicted with or suffering from a qualifying medical condition”. However, no exemption from the requirements of subsection (a-5) shall be granted for any condition, such as light sensitivity, for which protection from the direct rays of the sun can be adequately obtained by the use of sunglasses or other eye protective devices.

For those of you who do not wish to spend your time on Jalopnik reading statutes from a place where the local prison population primarily consists of former governors, allow me to paraphrase: the window tint license plate is issued to people who have a medical condition that requires them to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun. However, the statute very clearly says that the plate is not for people who have simple “light sensitivity,” which can be solved with “the use of sunglasses or other eye protective devices.” I imagine this is much in the same way that a disabled license plate is not for people who have minor disabilities, such as too much back hair, or bad breath, or they’re 28 years old and they have a capybara stuffed animal. And indeed, the Audi I saw with the Window Tint license plates had extremely tinted windows; windows so tinted that they may have actually been painted metal. This would not surprise me, as I suspect Audi charges more for “transparent windows,” as part of the same $2,400 Convenience Package that includes round tires.

Now, for those of you reading this from outside North America, you might be wondering why any of this exists: window tint laws. Exceptions to window tint laws. License plates with Abraham Lincoln’s face on them. Well, the answer is that window tint is a very divisive issue here in this part of the world. This is because police officers believe heavily tinted windows to be a huge safety hazard, in the sense that they greatly diminish visibility, and also tinted windows make it hard for an officer to see how many people are in a vehicle, or whether not they’re reaching for a weapon during a traffic stop. On the flip side of the argument, a large contingent of 19-year-olds support tinted windows because “they look cool.” Personally, I’m not a big fan of window tint on my own vehicles, because it reduces my visibility at night. I am, however, for Illinois’ special license plate, because I believe it’s an interesting way to accommodate a disability. In fact, I think the program should expand. For example: I would qualify for an “RC” license plate, which of course would alert officers to the fact that the driver might be Rocking out to Jimmy Eat World with a stuffed Capybara.

Read More : Jalopnik.com/illinois-issues-a-special-license-plate-for-legal-windo-1771775231

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Matthews Bark Criminal Defense – Why Are Legal States Setting More Limits on Cannabis?

Source     :  Leafly
By             :  Ben Aldin
Category : Attorney Matthews Bark of Orlando, Matthews Bark Criminal Defense

Why Are Legal States Setting More Limits on Cannabis?
Why Are Legal States Setting More Limits on Cannabis?

In Oregon, authorities are planning to implement a new rule that would cap individual serving sizes of infused edibles at 5 mg THC, or half that of Washington and Colorado. Currently there are no potency limits for Oregon edibles, though they’re only available to state-registered medical patients. The measure is scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1. Regulators explain the change not as an attack on the industry but as a push to curb the horror stories of young children coming into emergency rooms after mistakenly ingesting edibles. The new limits, they say, are actually aimed at helping the new market succeed. “Everybody’s aware that all eyes are on us,” said André Ourso, manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. As the statewide experiment unfolds, it’s no secret U.S. and international governments are watching keenly. “It’s a frontier,” Ourso said. “It really is something new, and I think everybody wants to do it right and not make mistakes going forward.” Oregon’s new rule would limit retail edibles to 5 mg THC per serving for things like cookies and chocolates. An entire package could contain no more than 50 mg. Medical products would have higher limits, up to 100 mg per package.  While Colorado and Washington have had years of regulatory opportunities, “this is pretty much our first real regulatory crack at rulemaking,” Ourso explained. “Setting lower limits, it allows us to look at things in a more cautious public health manner.” He stressed that the lower limits don’t mean Oregon regulators are opposed to cannabis. “We don’t want to decimate an entire industry; that’s not our goal,” he said. “We want to have a well-regulated industry, just like any other.” The proposal is winning hesitant buy-in from some producers and dispensary operators. While business owners aren’t necessarily in favor of the proposed rules, they said, they understand the unique position legal cannabis still occupies.  “I think obviously they’re coming from a public safety standpoint, and we get it,” said Oregon cannabis entrepreneur Brent Kenyon, founder of Southern Oregon Alternative Medicine dispensaries and maker of the 400-mg-THC Chocowanna Bar, which would be prohibited under the new state rule.  A big piece of the industry’s buy-in seems to come from the sense that authorities in Oregon are genuinely on board with cannabis. When there’s a rub, Kenyon said, he’s seen the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which also regulates cannabis, revise rules in response to feedback from both the industry and the public. “They’ve done a great job of reaching out to everyone,” Kenyon said. “The state of Oregon doesn’t want to squish commerce.”  If trust can go a long way in getting stakeholders on the same page, though, a misunderstanding can make for disaster. In Colorado, a recent legislative push to limit the potency of all cannabis products drew the ire of many in the industry. Michael Elliot, executive director of the Denver-ased Marijuana Industry Group, described the measure in a Denver Post op-ed as “an attempt to make pot illegal.”  The proposal would’ve capped THC in all cannabis and cannabis products — including concentrates — at 15 percent. That’s lower than the current state average of 17.1 percent THC for raw flower, and it’s drastically below the average concentrate potency of 62.1 percent. The Colorado lawmaker who introduced the legislation, Rep. Kathleen Conti (R-Littleton), said in an interview that the proposal came in response to a lack of scientific research into the safety of high-THC cannabis. She also said it’s her opinion that too many in Colorado have adopted the opinion that “if it’s legal, it can’t hurt you.”
“We don’t know that to be true,” she said.

Critics, however, said the ignorance cut both ways. The manner in which the bill was written, they argued, suggested Conti and her staff didn’t adequately understand cannabis. “I don’t think a lot of thought was put into the proposals,” Mark Slaugh, executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, told the Denver Post as the measure was being considered. “This bill threatens to wipe out most infused product manufacturers, and its language is unclear what to do with edibles.” Growers would have to destroy common strains with higher THC levels, they complained, and even carefully cultivated cannabis could come in above the cap, depending on growing conditions. And ultimately if consumers couldn’t obtain their favorite products legally, critics warned, they’d likely turn to the black market. The 15-percent limit barely fell short in committee, by a 6–5 vote, but lawmakers have promised to return to the issue next year. In the meantime, both sides are gearing up to battle over a bill introduced last week, HB 1436, that would prohibit infused edibles that “resemble the form of a human, animal, or fruit” because they are “shaped in a manner to entice a child.”

Regulation or Education?

There are good reasons to question caps on cannabis potency. But it’s also fair to say that edibles earn cannabis a lot of bad press when people, whether children or just rookie consumers, accidentally eat too much. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is an infamous example; she ate a whole cannabis-infused candy bar without realizing it contained 16 servings. Even officials who favor cannabis have started to rethink edibles. In Aspen, Colo., Sheriff Joe DiSalvo admits he’s struggling with how to regulate products like cookies and candy, which he worries might appeal to kids. County commissioners have asked DiSalvo to provide a recommendation as to whether Aspen should ban all edibles except for those in pill form, a decision the sheriff said he’s still considering. “It goes back to, for me, what is the real point of a cookie or a gummy when you can get it delivered in a different way?” he said. “I don’t know why you need to have in this other form when you could swallow it and be done with it.”  He acknowledged a lot of the terrible stories he hears are anecdotal. “I wonder about that myself sometimes,” he said. But because he worries horror stories cause harm to the industry, he said a ban on edibles might be the way to go. “Is cookies and candies equivalent to putting a smiley face on a bottle of Jack Daniels and making it appeal to a kid?” he asked. “When it comes to children and use, we’re all concerned about that.”  How does he feel about a cap on overall cannabis potency in Colorado? “I would fight it to the death. I don’t see a lot of accidental ingestion with flower.”

Read more: Leafly.com/news/headlines/why-are-legal-states-setting-more-limits-on-cannabis

Matthews Bark Criminal Defense – Can I use that? A Legal Primer For Journalists

Source     : CJR Org
By            : Jonathan Peters
Category : Attorney Matthews Bark of Orlando, Matthews Bark Criminal Defense

Bail Bonds In Orlando Fl - Can I use that? A Legal Primer For Journalists
Can I use that? A Legal Primer For Journalists

As a media law scholar and practicing media lawyer, I field all manner of questions every week—from students, journalists, editors, and others. Whether I’m speaking generally to a non-client or giving specific legal advice to a client, I’ve noticed that the questions fall into three broad categories:

Can I use that?
Can I say that?
Can I do that?

Within each category, some issues come up more than others. They’re the greatest hits, so to speak, and I’m going to begin sampling that album with you here—starting with the category Can I use that? Future stories will explore the other two categories. Keep in mind that I’m a lawyer, not your lawyer (unless I actually am your lawyer), and these comments shouldn’t be construed as legal advice.

How to obtain a copyright

Can I use that? questions are typically copyright questions. First, freelancers want to know how to obtain a copyright in something they created. This is sort of the inverse of Can I use that? The person wants to know how to control the way others use her work. So, assuming a work is copyrightable in the first place (some things, like facts and short phrases, are not), it’s copyrighted upon creation. Generally, the copyright is owned by whoever created the work. But if it’s created in the course of employment, it’s usually considered a “work for hire” and owned by the employer. The New York Times, for example, owns the copyright in articles written by its employees. Among freelancers, copyright ownership depends on the rights articulated in their contracts. It’s not ​uncommon for freelancers and their publications to share copyrights in some way. Now, even though a work is copyrighted upon creation, it’s prudent for the owner to register the work with the US Copyright Office. Registration puts the world on notice of the copyright, and allows the owner to enforce the right in court. Plus, the federal copyright statute entitles the owner to statutory damages if she registers the work before infringement or within three months of the work’s publication. That’s helpful because it means the owner doesn’t have to prove actual losses in an enforcement ​suit. And, although this isn’t required to obtain a copyright, I usually advise my clients—especially the photojournalists—to place a copyright notice on each of their works. To be most effective, it should include the owner’s name, the year the work was created, and the copyright symbol. Why do I give that advice? If the client needs to enforce her copyright in court, notice takes away the defendant’s ability to claim that he innocently infringed, a defense that can ​mitigate the owner’s damages.

Fair use

Lots of people ask me about fair use, the doctrine that allows you to use a copyrighted work without permission. First, understand that the goal of copyright law is not only to protect the rights of people who create content but also “to promote the progress of science and useful arts,” according to the Constitution. Allowing creators to enforce their copyrights in all cases would frustrate the latter, so the courts and Congress adopted the fair use doctrine to allow uses of copyrighted works that would benefit society. I spend my time in this area disabusing people of misconceptions—that you can sample up to 10 seconds of an audio recording, or copy up to three paragraphs of a book, or use whatever you want as long as it’s newsworthy or included in a news report. In reality, there are no such bright-line rules. To determine whether a use is fair, a court considers four factors. The first is the purpose and character of the use (chiefly whether it’s for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, or research, all of which favor fair use). The second is the nature of the copyrighted work itself (whether, say, it was unpublished, which is entitled to greater protection). The third is the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the work as a whole (the more of the original work used, the more likely it’s an infringement). And the fourth is the effect of the use on the market for, or value of, the copyrighted work (uses that supplant the original work in the marketplace are unlikely to be fair). No single factor is determinative, and notably the fact that something is newsworthy, or used in a news report, does not automatically make its use fair. That’s probably where I spend the most time educating people. Using a ​copyrighted ​work for a news report will be considered as part of factor one, but that does not end the analysis—the court will go on to consider the other factors, and if they don’t favor fair use, then your use won’t be protected.

Linking and embedding

The last major Can I use that? issue is linking. As we surf the Web, we rely greatly on links to navigate from page to page—to look up related content. And news organizations increasingly are using links to provide access to their source material. But what if you post something that links to copyrighted or infringing content? Are you liable under prevailing copyright rules? Different types of linking present different copyright issues, and the law is not entirely settled here—so I’ll hit the two most important points that (for the most part) are settled. First, “deep linking” is what most of us think of when we think of linking. It means placing a link on your site that leads to a page on another site. Doing that, generally, does not constitute copyright infringement—even if the other site is hosting copyrighted or infringing content​. Second, “inline linking” is what most of us call embedding. It means placing a line of HTML code in your site so it displays content directly from another site (e.g., embedding a tweet in a news story). That does not, generally, infringe any​ copyright because no copy of the embedded content has been made—the inline link is simply a piece of code that represents the content as it exists on the originating site. Moreover, most third-party platforms, like Twitter, include in their terms of service a provision that says the user permits others to embed his or her content. Which raises a related issue: Embedding copyrighted content may be okay, but screenshotting it and posting the screenshot is not. That’s basically the electronic equivalent of making a copy of the work, putting it squarely in the crosshairs of copyright law. So, if you find content on social media and want to use it (e.g., in an online news story), embedding is the safest way to do it—not screenshotting.

Read More : cjr.org/united_states_project/journalist_legal_questions.php

Matthews Bark Criminal Defense – Will Artificial Intelligence Favor Conservative Legal Theorists?

Source      : Bell Street News
By             : Gabe Friedman
Category  : Attorney Matthews Bark of Orlando, Matthews Bark Criminal Defense

Will Artificial Intelligence Favor Conservative Legal Theorists?
Will Artificial Intelligence Favor Conservative Legal Theorists?

If computers replace human lawyers anytime soon, it is more likely to benefit politically conservative legal philosophies, such as the one embraced by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, than liberal philosophies – purely due to idiosyncrasies in the way the dominant technology works, a new paper argues. That’s one of the ideas put forward in a draft version of “Incomplete Innovation and the Premature Disruption of Legal Services,” written by Brian Sheppard, an associate professor at Seton Hall University School of Law. “My argument is that if lawyers are going to be replaced by computers … some of the more conservative [legal] theories may become more popular again because computers can do them quite well,” he said in an interview with Big Law Business. By legal philosophies or theories, Sheppard said he meant the different principles of adjudication that lawyers use when interpreting the law and the Constitution. His paper doesn’t identify any one philosophy with a political leaning, but Sheppard told Big Law Business that generally speaking, some conservative theories will likely be easier for computers to emulate because they are more black-and-white, with little subjectivity.

One of the best-known philosophies, Originalism, holds that the meaning of the U.S. Constitution was fixed at the time of its enactment, and is now closely identified with Scalia, Sheppard said. While it’s often viewed as conservative, it could also be viewed as a liberal bent under certain circumstances, he added. “There’s no philosophical reason why these theories are conservative,” Sheppard said, about Originalism, adding, “Liberals would love Originalism if the country had been on a steady conservative slide since the day it was founded.” The bulk of the paper is devoted to Sheppard’s theory that bespoke legal services — such as negotiation, the creation of high-stakes legal documents and advocacy — will be more scarce in the future as a result of what he calls “premature disruption,” caused by technological innovation, business model innovation or both. In explaining that theory, Sheppard devotes a chunk of his paper to “natural language processing,” the technology used in various artificial intelligence tools including Google, Apple’s Siri, and IBM’s Watson, and which he believes will play a critical role in any disruption that occurs.

Loosely defined, natural language processing is the interaction between computers and human language, such as a computer’s ability to conduct textual analysis or understand speech. A particular branch of this technology, called the syntactical approach, has progressed the furthest, according to Sheppard. Used in Siri and other products, the syntactical technique “is agnostic as to meaning; it essentially searches for matching sequences of characters and sorts based on distance between matching sequences within documents or based on match frequency,” the paper explains. Thus, it struggles with “elementary interpretative tasks,” but it can parse texts and extract meaning. He situates various legal philosophies along a curve based on how easily they can be emulated using syntactical natural language processing. At the bottom of the curve, the legal philosophy that could be most easily emulated with existing technology is Naïve Textualism, or the idea that statutes can be understood by looking up their words in a dictionary.

Further along the curve, already partially available for automation, Sheppard placed the legal philosophy known as Originalism, most famously embraced by Scalia, which holds that the U.S. Constitution’s meaning was fixed at the time it was enacted. To the extent that Originalism envisions the law as having a fixed meaning in the past, Originalism can be more easily automated, the paper states. But Originalism also calls for an understanding of “the intent” of the people who wrote the Constitution, and thus requires a computer to understand complex contextual dimensions, such as the “perceived problems, goals, hopes or ideals” of original legislators, which makes it difficult to fully automate with the current technology. Living Constitutionalism, which involves evaluating principles according to their practicality, how well they promote democratic legitimacy and the evolving values of the present time, sits at the highest spot on the curve and is the least computer-friendly, the paper states. Eventually, natural language processing could emulate such philosophies, with more gray areas, but that technology is still years, if not decades away from being deployable, according to Sheppard.

Read more:  bol.bna.com/will-artificial-intelligence-favor-conservative-legal-theorists/

Orlando DUI Attorney- Exemption in ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ Law Raises Legal Flags

Source     : ABC News
By            : ERIK SCHELZIG Associated Press
Category  : Legal Flags , Orlando DUI Attorney

barrels are stored at the George Dickel distillery near Tullahoma, Tenn. Popcorn Sutton Distilling of Newport, Tenn
Barrels are stored at the George Dickel distillery near Tullahoma, Tenn. Popcorn Sutton Distilling of Newport, Tenn

The state Legislature in 2013 excluded Prichard’s from the law passed at the behest of Jack Daniel’s that for the first time established rules for which products could label themselves as Tennessee whiskey. Those rules codified what is known as the “Lincoln County Process,” which requires whiskey to be filtered through maple charcoal before being aged in unused charred barrels made out of oak. The filtering requirement makes up the principal difference from making bourbon. Distiller Phil Prichard gained his exemption after arguing that he shouldn’t have to follow a charcoal filtering requirement because it does not follow the technique used by his grandfather.
“If I subscribe to this rule that Jack Daniel’s has imposed on us all, then I would then be paying homage to Jack Daniel’s and not paying homage to my grandfather Benjamin Prichard,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Prichard has since opened another distillery in Nashville, creating the odd scenario in which his product made at the original location is grandfathered out of the Tennessee whiskey law, while spirits flowing from the new still are not. “The fact that I can’t make whiskey according to my grandfather’s techniques at the Nashville location is a bit of a slap in the face to me,” Prichard said. “It’s still the same grandfather, and I’m still Phil Prichard.” Slatery said in the legal opinion that Prichard’s exemption could run afoul of the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution’s ban on suspending “any general law for the benefit of any particular individual.” The state law exempts Prichard’s by saying it does not apply to distilleries established between certain dates that match when Phil Prichard began doing business. “There is no discernable reason to distinguish one distillery from other existing distilleries on this basis, especially since the exemption at issue is purportedly the one that distinguishes Tennessee Whiskey from bourbon,” Slatery said. The fight over the Tennessee whiskey law has drawn in global liquor giants Diageo PLC, which owns George Dickel, and Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corp.

Several craft distilleries have lined up behind Jack Daniel’s to support the new law, but the makers of Dickel, Prichard’s and Full Throttle have been vocal opponents of having to conform to the new law they have deemed too restrictive. It’s unclear whether a successful legal challenge to Prichard’s exemption would sink the entire Tennessee whiskey law, which does not carry a so-called severability clause that would keep constructional provisions in place in the event that part of the statute is thrown out. Prichard said he feels uncomfortable that the exemption gives him “the ability to profit as a result of a bad law.” He said he wishes the state would just go back to allowing distillers the same freedom to do business they had before 2013. “This is a law that was designed to benefit one company,” he said. “The whole law stinks.”

Link : abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/exemption-tennessee-whiskey-law-raises-legal-flags-29747121

Attorney Matthews Bark of Orlando – “A Run Can Keep The Brain Young”

Source      : Calgary Herald
By             : Laura Donnelly – The Telegraph
Category : Attorney Matthews Bark of OrlandoMatthews Bark Criminal Defense

Run Can Keep The Brain Young
 A Run Can Keep The Brain Young

For years, people have assumed that puzzles kept the brain active. But Prof Clive Ballard, professor of age-related disease at King’s College London, said those who wanted the best chance of staving off dementia should opt for a run or a brisk walk. It has long been known that those who take exercise are less likely to develop the condition, but it was only last month that a study at the University of Pittsburgh showed that instead of the brain shrinking – as it does normally at a rate of about 1 per cent a year – it grew by about 2 per cent in those who took a brisk 40-minute walk three times a week. Among those aged between 55 and 80, exercise increased the size of the hippo-campus – the brain’s memory hub – knocking almost two years off its biological age.

Prof Ballard, who was until recently director of research for the Alzheimer’s Society, is leading a study investigating the long-term impact of brain training on older people. The project has already found that puzzles appear to have little short-term impact on the brain. Prof Ballard said some exercises seemed to have some impact in protecting against general cognitive decline, yet had no effect on Alzheimer’s disease. “If people enjoy a crossword that’s great, and it’s possible it does some good. But if people want the best chance of protecting themselves from dementia the answer is to go for a run or a brisk walk, the evidence is clear,” he said. Studies have also suggested social interaction can help to protect against the disease.

SOURCE : calgaryherald.com/news/keep+brain+young/9630803/story.html

Matthews Bark Criminal Defense – “Judge: It’s Always Been Legal To Fly Commercial Drones In The U.S.”

Source       : Tech. Fortune
By                : Clay Dillow
Category  : Attorney Matthews Bark of OrlandoMatthews Bark Criminal Defense

Drones In U.S.
Drones In U.S.

For years now a huge cross section of businesses — enterprises ranging from utility operators to civil engineers to real estate brokers to wedding photographers — has been waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to clear unmanned aerial systems (UAS), more commonly known as “drones,” for commercial use. It turns out they need not have waited at all. A federal judge has decided that the FAA’s commercial drone prohibition is not actually federal law and that the FAA has no authority over small unmanned aircraft, a ruling that immediately opens U.S. skies to at least some kinds of commercial drone use. Judge Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation Safety Board has dismissed a case in which the FAA sought to fine drone operator Raphael Pirker $10,000 for using a lightweight, remotely-piloted styrofoam aircraft to capture aerial footage of the University of Virginia as part of an advertisement for the university’s medical school. Pirker and attorney Brendan Schulman appealed the fine to the NTSB, and late last week Geraghty handed down a decision siding with Pirker.

The grounds: The FAA has prohibited the use of drones for commercial purposes since issuing a policy statement back in 2007, but it failed to go through the proper channels to codify that policy into federal law. Further, the decision reads, the FAA has never before defined small model airplanes like the one used by Pirker and most drone hobbyists as “aircraft” subject to broader FAA oversight, and therefore FAA rules and regulations that apply to “aircraft” don’t, by rule, apply to these small model aircraft. “In plain language it says that there’s no federal aviation regulation concerning model aircraft, or what are now more commonly referred to as ‘drones,’ and that those devices are not considered to be ‘aircraft’ for purposes of the FAA’s rules and regulations,” Schulman, a special counsel at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel in New York City. “In reaching that conclusion it also says that the 2007 policy statement from the FAA that implemented a ban on the commercial use of drones is not enforceable as a regulation.”

The FAA’s blanket prohibition on using drones for commercial purposes may no longer be valid, Schulman says, but that doesn’t necessarily mean companies can now take to the sky with UAS and do anything and everything they want to do. There are state and local laws that come into play, as well as privacy issues and matters of insurance and liability that have yet to be hashed out. Nonetheless, it does open up the skies to commercial drone users who can abide by the letter of state and local laws already in place. And it firmly takes the operation of such aircraft out from under the purview of the FAA, at least for the time being. That’s a welcome development for a large swath of businesses large and small that have been waiting a decade or more for the FAA to issue guidelines and regulations allowing them to leverage UAS technologies to their advantage. The legal use of commercial drones is expected to have an economic impact between $80 and $90 billion in the first decade after the aircraft are cleared to fly, as everyone from Big Agriculture to small aerial photography businesses takes advantage of the cost savings and enhanced capabilities that UAS offer. Oil and gas companies want to use UAS to inspect flare stacks and pipelines, engineers want eyes in the sky over construction projects, utilities want to use drones to keep an eye on their infrastructure, and even mom-and-pop real estate shops want to use them to take better imagery of their properties.

Then there’s the drone hardware business itself. Big aerospace players like Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Boeing (BA) and have significant interests in the commercial UAS industry, and several dedicated small UAS makers like Monrovia, Calif.-based Aerovironment, Canada’s Aeryon, and Flyterra, and Hong Kong-based DJI all see significant upside in relaxed restrictions on U.S. domestic drone use as businesses large and small either purchase their own UAS or enlist the services of drone engineers and operators (remember Amazon’s “drone delivery” stunt late last year?). The FAA could appeal the decision, though it’s unclear if it will or even if it’s in the agency’s best interests. A set of proposed rules governing UAS flight is already expected from the FAA later this year, and following a period of commentary from industry and government a finalized set of regulations for domestic drone use will follow (likely in 2015 or 2016). Fighting the court’s decision now might not lead to any meaningful decision before the proposed FAA rules come out later this year, and a decision that goes against the agency might further tie its hands during the rule-making process.

All that means that — for the time being at least — commercial drones are now free to fly in U.S. airspace, though, as Schulman points out, just because a business can fly a drone doesn’t necessarily mean that it should. “The decision indicates that there’s no federal regulation that directly addresses the commercial operation of drones, and as a general proposition in the United States if there’s no regulation prohibiting conduct then as American citizens we’re free to engage in that conduct,” Schulman says. “But that’s still subject to standards of negligence and tort law that might apply in the event that someone actually gets hurt or property is damaged. It’s not a free license to do anything you want.”

SOURCE : tech.fortune.cnn.com/2014/03/10/commercial-drones-faa/